Sunday, October 21, 2007

More X-Factor "Drama"

Oh for fuck's sake, look at this bollocks.

This manipulative piece of crap television continues to do its utmost to give the pretence of being a platform to develop new talent, whilst actually being just a vehicle designed primarily to fleece a gullible public and to further the careers and bank balances of the judges and presenters.

Consider the evidence.

It's already admitted it's heavily staged with supposed spontaneous events being edited or re-enacted for more dramatic effect. Another example here.

They're heavily mired in the phone-in scandal where highly lucrative income from phone lines continues to be collected after the winner has been chosen or voting deadlines have been passed.

Some, if not all, the judges have a financial interest in the winner's future recorded output and career.

There is absolutely nothing new or original about the performers or their material. Most of them are deluded, wannabes without a scrap of talent. They perform cover versions of material that would have made their parent's generation cringe, even in its original form. Most of the audition stage of the programme seems primarily designed to humiliate the contestants. At worst it will do some of the contestants permanent psychological damage. At best it may produce a small number of third rate cruise-liner singers.

On numerous occasions the judges appear to have apparently irreconcilable disagreements which usually result in tears or one of them walking out and refusing to have anything more to do with the show. They're always back the following week after some melodramatic reconciliation where they vow to go on for the sake of the contestants or some other bollocks excuse.

And finally, the most damning piece of evidence of all. It's TOTAL SHITE.

All the above I have gathered without actually ever watching the programme.

A Few Things Football Can Learn From Rugby

The Rugby World Cup Final illustrated everything that can be good in sport, and shows football (again) how players, coaching staff and supporters should approach their game. Here are a few examples.

Be maganimous in defeat. Not a word appears to have been said by the England players or coaching staff about any injustice they might have been subject to, even when asked directly. Likewise of the South Africans. Only courteous and gentlemanly acknowledgement of their respective adversaries good performance. When the England coach was asked after the match if he thought the best team had won, he gave the perfect answer - "The best team always wins."

Accept the decision of the officials without question and move on.

Don't feign injury. After a South African player was deliberately pushed by an England player into an advertising hoarding which then meant he collided heavily with a substantial camera unit the South African saw in the body language of the English player that it was an impulsive, heat of moment incident and accepted his apology. The referee saw it the same way. No punishment, no histrionics, they all just got on with the game. If the same had happened in a game of football, the player, whether injured or not, would have stayed down and acted as dramatically as possible, probably being stretchered off the pitch for more dramatic effect.

When interviewed the supporters on both sides were, before and after the game, grateful to the hosts and courteous about the opposition. No segregation of opposing supporters in the crowd was needed - nor is it at any game of rugby.

Congratulations to South Africa. The best team won.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Pies and Prejudice

Living in London, as soon as you mention in conversation you're a Northerner you'll usually get the "Eeeh ba gum it's all flat caps and whippets oop there intit...ho ho ho" so Stuart Maconie's latest book, Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North, is a welcome response to the flat cap and whippets mob. A funny, passionate hymn to the North. Loaded with references as to why the North has so much to offer it'll probably only appeal to expat Northerner like myself because anyone who's not from the North who reads it simply won't believe it's true.

I don't have a problem with living in London, I choose to do it and I like it but ill-informed, cliched criticism grates after a while and trying to defend your position to someone who's never been there invariably ends up making you just sound like you've got a chip on your shoulder or something.

Written as part travelogue, part humourous and good-natured polemic, it made me want to go and visit the places he went to that I don't know. And being of Yorkshire /Lancashire extraction I've visited quite a few - but not all - of the places he talked about.

Good on you Stuart. I think it's a vain hope that you think that non Northerners will buy/read it unless they actually know something about the North of England but it's helped remind me of why my heart skips a beat when I hear a brass band, why at least half dozen people I went to school with over 20 years ago I still count as good friends, and why I know, that one day I will return.